2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited
Love ’em or hate ’em, there is no denying that Harley-Davidson has been in the business of building top-notch, full-dress baggers for many moons. In an effort to maintain that reputation, Harley has taken the unusual step of collecting customer feedback and actually engineering rider requests for practical use as part of its Project Rushmore initiative. The 2015 CVO Limited is a rolling display of nearly every bell, whistle, gee-gaw and whimmy-diddle Harley engineers could hang on it, and it shows that a bike can be both rooted in tradition, and still show a progressive bent.
Continue reading for my review of the 2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited.
2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited
Engine:Twin-Cooled™ Twin Cam 110™
Torque @ RPM:115
Energy:Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Displacement:109 cubic inches
What can I say, it’s a Harley dresser — big and heavy, with rolls of “fat” hanging off it. Almost the entire bike, except the engine and transmission, is shrouded with sheet metal (or plastic, whatever). The Batwing fairing, windshield and lowers provide just about as much protection as one can reasonably expect from an unenclosed vehicle, and the fairing comes with the Project Rushmore-inspired “Splitstream” vent that reduces head buffeting to reduce rider fatigue. A comfortable saddle and rider backrest help to ease (or prevent) the pain of long trips, and the passenger backrest and armrests help contain your riding partner in something approaching luxury. (Luxury is a relative term, and subject to taste.)
The word of the day here is Infotainment. Ensconced within the inner-front fairing is the 6.5-inch, full-color, touch-screen rider interface that controls the “Boom! Box” 6.5GT radio complete with Audio SiriusXM Satellite Radio and USB/Bluetooth capability for a “virtual jukebox” function, if you like to carry your own playlists on a mobile device. A total of four, 6.5-inch “Boom! Bagger” speakers ensure that you can hear your tunes at speed.
The factory went with big, 49 mm front forks to stiffen the front end, and control front-end dive when you grab a fistful of brakes to control this 944-pound (curb weight) monster. Folks, that’s a lot of weight, especially when you add a rider, passenger and cargo in the 30.2-gallon storage capacity offered by the saddlebags and “Tour-pak,” a fact not lost on H-D.
At 102.4-inches long overall, the CVO Limited is one long ride.
In the interest of control, the engineers went with 32 mm, four-piston, Brembo calipers on both ends under the management of the “Reflex” Linked Brakes with ABS for added confidence when you need to make an abrupt stop, or operate in poor riding conditions.
At 102.4-inches long overall, the CVO Limited is one long ride. The steering head angle is set to 26 degrees, leaving it with a 64-inch wheelbase and 6.7 inches of trail. Bottom line here is it handles as you would expect. Big, heavy, stiff in the corners, but with over 33 degrees of lean angle available before you throw sparks, so although it may not feel very willing in the turns, it will actually carve better than my Sporty by a considerable margin.
Ok folks, the table is set, now for the pièce de résistance. H-D used its most powerful engine yet to drive this ride. The Twin-Cooled, Twin Cam 110 engine cranks out a stump pulling, 115.1 pound-feet of torque at a mere 3,750 rpm that gives this engine the fastest 60 to 80 mph, fifth-gear roll-on of any H-D engine.
The Twin-Cooled, Twin Cam 110 engine cranks out a stump pulling, 115.1 pound-feet of torque at a mere 3,750 rpm.
Air ducts in the heads help to remove waste heat from the exhaust-valve area for an extra layer of protection against heat-related damage, and increased performance. This engine is yet another Rushmore product, and for me, it’s the best feature to come out of the Project so far. Big and beautiful, with the unmistakable, 45-degree, V-twin shape all wrapped in chrome and black wrinkle paint. What’s not to love?
The engine aspirates through the “Ventilator” intake that comes stock with a high-flow, low-resistance air filter, and an electronic sequential port fuel injection system delivers precisely metered fuel charges to the engine. Even though the engine has a relatively low compression ratio of 9.2 to 1, the designers felt it necessary to add an automatic compression release function that bleeds off some of the cylinder pressure for easier starts – I am sure they had their reasons.
A six-speed, constant mesh transmission and belt final drive quietly convert engine power to “roundy-roundy” at the rear wheel, and the gear ratio gives us 41 mpg and low cruising rpm at highway speed. All the better to hear your "Boom! Box," yes?
Sticker shock on this ride is rather severe. At $39,349 MSRP, it is well outside entry-level range, but then, it isn’t an entry-level bike, is it. You can get this sled shot in Palladium Silver/Typhoon Maroon, Carbon Dust/Charcoal Slate or Gold Rush/Carbon Dust, the all new, two-tone custom colors for the 2015 model year, or go with Orange, Blue, Brown, Green, Gray, Purple or Red.
The CVO Limited is beset by competition from all quarters. BMW brings pressure from across the pond with its K 1600 GTL Exclusive, while U.S. manufacturer Victory Motorcycles attacks on the home front with its Vision Tour model.
Beemer comes out swinging with an awesome inline-six engine that cranks out a soul-crushing 129 pound-feet of torque versus 115.1 from the H-D and 108 from the Victory, placing the Bavarians squarely on top as far as torque is concerned.
As far as aesthetics go, I personally like the looks of the H-D better than the angular looks of the Beemer, or the somewhat “ladybug-ish” vibe that the Victory exudes (the only thing missing are the black spots). However, much like so many things, beauty is very subjective.
Unlike beauty, however, price is more tangible. Victory comes out on top here (or bottom, if you like) with a relatively low price of $20,999. The Beemer comes in second at $29,995 and the Harley swings for the bleachers with a staggering $39,349 sticker. But let’s be honest, if you are looking for a brand-new, full dress bagger, you already know it’s going to hurt the wallet, and “pain” is also subjective.
“I’ve been a fan of H-D baggers since the late ’80s, once Harley settled in with the then-new, 80 cubic-inch Evo motor. While I have no illusions that I will ever be willing to pay for a new one, I admit that I openly and unashamedly lust after just such a ride. A guy can dream, can’t he?”
My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "I love these Project Rushmore bikes. The innovations and enhancements borne from rider and passenger inputs make these bikes a dream to ride and even more so in the luxurious CVO line. As a passenger, I like having floorboards instead of pegs and I like the way the backrest and armrests cradle and contain me. It’s comfortable and I can take a nap without worrying about falling off the pillion. I’m a bit in sticker shock over the price, however. That shouldn’t surprise me since Harley’s are usually more expensive than their competitors are. I just have a hard time spending $40,000 on something I can’t live in. A price this high on a motorcycle says, "mid-life crisis" to me. If you’re going to freak out and have a mid-life crisis, though, a Project Rushmore CVO bike is the one to get."
|Engine:||Twin-Cooled™ Twin Cam 110™|
|Displacement:||109.9 cubic inches|
|Compression Ratio:||9.2 to 1|
|Fuel System:||Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)|
|Engine Torque Testing Method:||J1349|
|Engine Torque:||115.1 pound-feet at 3,750 rpm|
|Lean Angle, Right:||34.3 degrees|
|Lean Angle, Left:||33.4 degrees|
|Fuel Economy: Combined City/Hwy:||41 Mpg|
|Primary Drive:||Chain, 34/46 Ratio|
|Gear Ratios (Overall) 1st:||9.593|
|Gear Ratios (Overall) 2nd:||6.65|
|Gear Ratios (Overall) 3rd:||4.938|
|Gear Ratios (Overall) 4th:||4.0|
|Gear Ratios (Overall) 5th:||3.407|
|Gear Ratios (Overall) 6th:||2.875|
|Exhaust:||Chrome Dual Exhaust With four-Inch Touring Mufflers And Touring Muffler Shields|
|Wheels, Front Type:||Mirror Chrome Slicer Custom Wheel|
|Wheels, Rear Type:||Mirror Chrome Slicer Custom Wheel|
|Brakes, Caliper Type:||32 Mm, four-Piston Fixed Front And Rear|
|Seat Height, Laden:||28.4 Inches|
|Seat Height, Unladen:||29.1 Inches|
|Ground Clearance:||5.3 Inches|
|Rake (Steering Head):||26 degrees|
|Tires, Front Specification:||BW 130/80B17 65H|
|Tires, Rear Specification:||BW 180/65B16 81H|
|Fuel Capacity:||6 Gallons|
|Oil Capacity (W/Filter):||4 Quarts|
|Weight, As Shipped:||909 Pounds|
|Weight, In Running Order:||944 Pounds|
|Luggage Capacity -Volume:||30.2 Gallons|
|Color Choices:||Orange (Default), Blue, Brown, Green, Gray, Purple, Red|
|Watts Per Channel:||75|
|Speaker Size:||6.5-Inch Bass Port Rear Speakers Standard|
|Distortion (THD):||1 percent|
|Headset Specifications (If Equipped):||16 to 64 Ohms|
|Weather Band (WB):||Standard|
|MP3 - USB Connection:||Supported|
|SD Card - Via USB Connection:||Supported|
|Flash Drive - Via USB Connection:||Supported|
|IPod Device Presets:||20.0|
|USB-Storage Device Presets:||20.0|
|Media Player Device Presets:||20|
|Global Presets:||Selectable, Up To 20 Presets|
|Favorites:||1 FAV Hardkey Plus 6 Favorites|
|Interface Languages:||English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese|
|Voice Recognition:||Hands-Free Mobile Phone - Via Bluetooth Standard|
|Voice Recognition Languages: Phone Functions Only:||English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese|
|Voice Recognition Languages: Tuner/Media/Navigation:||English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese|
|"Vehicle Information Screen (Air Temperature, Oil Pressure And Engine Temperature)":||Standard|
|Software Update Via USB Interface:||Standard|
|Text-To-Speech (TTS) Languages:|
|Lights (As Per Country Regulation), Indicator Lamps:||High Beam, Running Lights, Front Fender Running Lights, Directional Lights, Neutral, Low Oil Pressure, Engine Diagnostics, Accessory, Speakers, Turn Signals, Security System,Gear Indication, Battery, Low Fuel Warning, Cruise Control, ABS, Miles To Empty Display, Fog/Aux Lamp Indicator|
|Gauges:||10 percent Larger Speedometer And Tachometer With 68 percent Wider Numbers; 28 percent Larger Fuel And Volt Gauges With 30 percent Wider Numbers; Display Features Odometer, Trip A, Trip B, Range To Empty And Gear Indicator; And Larger Tell-Tale Indicators|
|Price:||Custom Color Option $39,349|